07 September 2016

28th and 29th ASEAN Summits on as the world looks forward to PRRD, Obama meeting
VIENTIANE, Lao PDR — Wednesday is an exciting day at the 28th and 29th ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nation) Summit with various meetings and dialogues amongst the members of the ASEAN and leaders of other top countries of the world, including the much awaited Gala Dinner where President Rodrigo Duterte and United States President Barack Obama will meet face to face for the first time.

The media from all over the world, including from the Philippines, are up in excitement as each await the event where the two leaders will possibly say something positive after the two nations mutually agreed to move the scheduled bilateral meeting them to a later date.

Presidents Duterte and Obama will be seated next to each other, which expectedly, will focus all cameras on them to deliver to the world the encounter of the two. Incidentally, United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is also seated on the other side of President Duterte.

The ASEAN summit is the first foreign trip of President Duterte after his inauguration back in June 30 of this year.

On Tuesday, the leaders of the 10 ASEAN Member States (AMS) met for the opening of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summit here, three of them- President Duterte, Myanmar Prime Minister Aung san Suu Kyi and Vietnam Prime Minister Nguen Tan Dung being first time attendees. Lao PDR, the Chair of this year’s ASEAN summit adopted the theme “Turning Vision into Reality for a Dynamic ASEAN Community”.

The ASEAN Summit, scheduled from September 6 to 8 brings together Leaders of the AMS – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Lao PDR and the Philippines.

Lao PDR’s Prime Minister Thounglough Sisoulith will turn-over to Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte the Chairmanship of ASEAN which will commence on January 1, 2017. The Philippines’ chairmanship of ASEAN will coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the Association. Aside from holding various ASEAN meetings, the country will hold activities during its chairmanship to mark this milestone.

Before President Rodrigo Duterte left the country on Monday, PRRD said his attendance is aimed at pushing forward a focus on peace, security, stability and prosperity of the entire region. While in Vientiane, President Duterte meets his ASEAN counterparts to discuss the focus of his administration in relation to the Philippines’ thrusts to contribute to ASEAN community-building.

On Tuesday, President Duterte met with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

ASEAN is guided by fundamental principles which includes mutual respect for independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identity of all nations; the right of every state to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion or coercion; non-interference in the internal affairs of one another; peaceful and rules-based settlement of disputes; renunciation of the threat or use of force and an effective cooperation among themselves.

Today, the leaders met early for the retreat session discussing the various issues affecting the region.

The 10-nation ASEAN will also meet in separate sessions with China, Japan, Korea, Australia and the United Nations. (LTA/PND)

Palace issues guidelines to AFP, PNP for implementation during state of emergency
Malacañan has released to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) the guidelines in the implementation of measures to suppress and prevent lawless violence in the country.

By the order of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, the guidelines are covered by Memorandum Order (MO) No. 3 signed on Sept. 5, 2016 by Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea, who is also the government caretaker in the absence of President Duterte while the latter is attending the 28th & 29 ASEAN Summits in Lao PDR.

Before flying to Vientiane on Monday, PRRD signed Proclamation No. 55 placing the entire country under a state of national emergency on account of lawless violence triggered by the Davao explosion last Friday.

Section 1 of the guidelines stated: “The Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) shall coordinate the immediate deployment of additional forces of the AFP and PNP to suppress lawless violence and acts of terror in Mindanao and prevent such violence from spreading and escalating in the country.”

The memo further stated: “The DND and the DILG shall deploy AFP and PNP personnel on major streets and thoroughfares, as well as near crowded places such as malls and train stations,in order to increase troop and military visibility for deterence and quick-response purposes, without causing undue alarm to the general public.”

Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs Marie Rafael Banaag during a press briefing on Wednesday in Malacañan said “the proclamation was not meant to undermine the bill of rights.”

Asst. Sec. Banaag said the MO was “issued in order to delimit what the AFP and PNP can do. We put a premium on civil rights.”

The MO stated: “No civil and political rights are suspended during the existence of a state of lawless violence.”

To ensure the effective implementation of the memorandum, local government units are enjoined to give their all-out support and utmost cooperation. (PPA/JAG/PND)

PRRD outlines PH economic agenda before ASEAN business leaders
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (PRRD) presented the economic agenda of the Philippines to members of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC) on Tuesday in Luang Prabang, Laos.

The agenda focuses on the promotion of inclusive growth through innovation in four areas: micro, small and medium enterprises; e-commerce; youth; and women entrepreneurship.

Speaking at the 13th ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) at the Muong Thanh Luxury Hotel, the President urged the business leaders to hasten the integration of sub-regional cooperation frameworks in Southeast Asia.

He said he learned that the 10-member regional bloc has the Greater Mekong Sub-Region; the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle; and the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area, otherwise known as the BIMP-EAGA.

PRRD thanked the ABAC for the opportunity to participate as speaker in this year’s ABIS event.

“I attach great importance on how laws are crafted and implemented to bring good governance and order and to provide an enabling environment for the country’s progress and prosperity,” he said.

“From my perspective, for ASEAN to be a global player, it must ensure the effective implementation of various agreements concluded through the years,” he added.

Hailing from Mindanao, the President has committed to promote BIMP-EAGA. “We intend to open up our other major islands like Mindanao and the Visayas with high-quality backbone infrastructures,” he said. (LMG/JAG/PND)

Implementation of agreements will spell the difference in ASEAN community
VIENTIENE, Lao PDR — In the past Summits of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and related meetings, agreements were passed but their implementation appears lacking.

In a speech at the 13th ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) here on Tuesday evening President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (PRRD) said “Foremost, ASEAN must ensure the effective implementation of various agreements concluded in the past.”

PRRD mentioned “I attach great importance on how laws are crafted and implemented to bring good governance and order and to provide an enabling environment for the countries’ progress and prosperity.”

PRRD likewise cited four aspects which must be addressed to attain the purpose for which the ASEAN was formed and to attain the goal for progress in the ASEAN Community. First and foremost is to assure that agreements entered into by the member countries are implemented.

“It certainly took an immense amount of effort and compromise as Member States shared their commitment and political resolve to accommodate and reconcile national interest with the regional aspiration of one nation, the ASEAN Community.”

Several key economic agreements have facilitated regional economic integration of natural persons and mutual recognition, arrangement of certain professions, which were among the important agreements signed by the ASEAN Community.

Under his administration, PRRD said the country’s economic focus will be towards the promotion of inclusive growth through innovation in four areas: micro, small and medium enterprises; e-commerce; youth; and women entrepreneurship.

Second, “ASEAN must hasten the growth and integration of Sub-Regional Cooperation Framework in the ASEAN.” At the moment, there is the Greater Mekong Sub-Region, the GMS; the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle; and the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia- Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area or otherwise known as the BIMP-EAGA.

In relation to this, the Philippines will continue with the infrastructure programs to link islands and provinces by putting up bridges, improving roads and expanding the roll-on roll-off facilities. In Mindanao, where the president is from, PRRD commits to promote BIMP-EAGA by opening Mindanao and the Visayas with high-quality backbone infrastructures.

Third point the President mentioned was for the ASEAN to focus not only be on big businesses, but must provide support to the micro, small and medium enterprises. “We will work and collaborate with ASEAN in helping the MSMEs look for ways to connect them in the countries of the ASEAN and the world. We will work on enhancing the policy and regulatory environment, providing an affordable and innovative digital platform, and accessing best practices and financial resources”.

Fourth idea that PRRD pointed out was “engaging the world in a robust way in the economic sphere. ASEAN is making further progress in fulfilling its commitments to the ASEAN Free Trade, the FTA.” Moreover, PRRD stated that the issue of economic partnership was addressed with the establishment of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP.

The ASEAN Community, he said also needs stronger resolve and action to combat trans-national crime and illegal drugs one of the most difficult and complex problems in the region and a pressing concern for the Philippines. PRRD stated that trade in illicit and illegal drugs has undermined social cohesion and the rule of law in the country.”

In closing, President Duterte urged the ASEAN leaders saying that “we should act together in concert to ensure that economic gains we made so far will advance at full speed so that ASEAN can confidently play its rightful role as a global player, contributing to the economic growth and prosperity.” (LTA/PND)

PRRD: PH Adheres to international law in sea row
President Rodrigo R. Duterte said the Philippines follows international law in the disputed West Philippine Sea, which is a portion of the South China Sea.

This was aired by PRRD during Wednesday’s ASEAN-China meeting in the ongoing 28th and 29th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit being held in Laos.

In a press conference, Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar said the issue of the South China Sea was mentioned during the ASEAN-China Dialogue. “The Philippines has underlined the rule of law and adheres to international bodies that govern this,” he said.

On July 12, the Hague-based International Arbitral Tribunal decided in favor of the Philippines, saying that the nine-dash line claimed by China had no basis.

“International disputes should inspire us to work together with adherence to the rule of law and international governing bodies; put words into actions and be on the side of peace,” Secretary Andanar said.

“Our President wants to work on the side of peace. And if you want to work on the side of peace, you shake the hand of the person right next to you,” he added.

It may be recalled that during the observance of National Heroes Day last Aug. 29, President Duterte said ”the Chinese people this time might find a place in their hearts for the Filipino; I hope that you treat us as your brothers.”

In Laos, the PCO chief emphasized that “our country has been transparent with the backdoor dialogue between former President Fidel V. Ramos and China.”

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella for his part said bilateral meetings took place and were very fruitful. “ThePresident has responded that he was aiming for a soft landing for all and that talks with China were still within the framework of the positive ruling that favored the Philippines,” the Palace mouthpiece said.

Regarding the bilateral meetings, Secretary Andanar said Cambodia welcomed the new neighborhood relations within ASEAN, while Thailand preferred not to allow overlapping maritime issues to affect overall relations.”

Both Palace officials further reported that “President Widodo of Indonesia said that there is a need to contribute peace in the ASEAN-China relations through maritime cooperation, and not allow the South China Sea issue to be the platform for power projection.”

They said, “While Singapore did not have any claims to the region but there were certain things that were pertinent to them and that is number one, rule of law in matters of settling disputes and freedom of navigation considering that particular area is important to Singapore in terms of international trade.”

Duterte is all business at ASEAN summit
Known for his casual, comfortable mode of dress, President Rodrigo R. Duterte showed up dressed in full business suit at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Vientiane, Laos.

Often seen in a simple, button-down shirt or t-shirt and jeans on regular working days, PRRD proved that he can be formal when the need calls for it. He rarely appeared in Barong Tagalog during his days as Mayor of Davao City because he never saw himself as special or important.

Since he became President of the Republic of the Philippines, Duterte has slowly or even reluctantly given in to wearing the national costume though with a twist—combining the Barong with a pair of jeans which the public fondly refers to as the “Maong Tagalog.”

President Duterte in a coat and tie ensemble now personifies the statesman that he is. This clearly signifies that he considers the ASEAN important enough for him to comply with and appear in proper dress code.

ASEAN leaders recognize PRRD’S influence
He could walk into an empty football field and it would soon be filled to the rafters. This is the charisma that President Rodrigo R. Duterte exudes. For his people, he has earned a “rock star” status prompting flocks—if not, hordes—of people to gather and crowd his airspace. Filipinos consider him a folk hero, father, savior and much more.

President Duterte may be the only Chief Executive who gets cheered and applauded for merely passing through a city street, a basketball arena, or a hotel lobby. For most people, the mere idea that they pass through the street where the President lives or has a meal already sends shivers up their spines.

At the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Vientiane, Lao PDR, Duterte’s rock star status has virtually rubbed off on our ASEAN neighbors. A few of the delegates actually took selfies with PRRD as he passed the hallways or whenever the opportunity presented itself.

Presidential Spokesperson Abella explained, “The tone of conversation between the nations seems to indicate that they recognize his influence, they recognize his political will, they recognize his firmness, they recognize his resolve. For example, to address drugs, the flow of illegal drugs. In fact, the Prime Minister of Singapore asked how he was dealing with it considering the fact that the Philippines has no death penalty.”

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar added, “President Duterte is a rock star not only in our country but also in other countries like Laos, Japan, and now the other Foreign Ministers and delegates have scrambled to get a selfie with our President. You have a President of the Republic who can stand and deliver.”

Grand gala dinner featuring Lao culture set for ASEAN leaders, guests
Vientiane, Laos, PDR– Delegates from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries are hosted by Laos, PDR, the chairman of this year’s Summit in a Gala Dinner showcasing their culture and a rotating presentation of what the country can offer.

Transforming the Convention Hall at the National Convention Center to an exquisite venue for the event, a simple table set with fine China dinnerware filled the room to accommodate about a thousand delegates from the 10 countries. Prior to the start of the event, Laotian ladies garbed in their native costumes lined the hall’s entrance to greet the leaders.

Aside from the representatives of the ASEAN member countries and European delegates, also present are delegates from New Zealand, Australia, China, Japan, United States and from the United Nations.
A menu composed of Crispy Fourme d’ Ambert cheese and nashi pear tartlet will be served for starter. The main course include Roasted New Zealand beef with Xiengkrouang pepper sauce served with pommes darphin in herbs, Pan seared Mekong perch fillet with white butter sauce and Meli-melo of cooked, roasted and steamed vegetables with parmesan chips and balsamic dressing. Dessert is Lao wild mango sorbet on top of dark chocolate mousse.

A cultural art performance program was prepared for the guests.Showcasing the culture of the ASEAN member countries through, dance and song performances will cap the evening especially for the guests.